Two teams returning to California after taking a remarkably similar travel map through the Southeast duel in San Francisco on Monday night when the Golden State Warriors host the Sacramento Kings for the second time this season.
The rivals will take the court with three-win records that were fashioned in different manners.
The Warriors won three of five games to start the season, going 3-1 at home in a stretch that included a 130-125 triumph over the Kings. Golden State has gone 0-5 since — all on a seven-day, five-game Eastern swing that ended Friday in New Orleans.
Meanwhile, the Kings failed to take advantage of a home-friendly opening slate, losing four straight, including three times at home. They took a 1-4 record on the road last week, but flew back with two wins in three contests.
All three opponents the Kings saw on the road had played the Warriors within the previous 48 hours. While Golden State was beaten by all three — Charlotte, Miami and Orlando — Sacramento managed to beat the Hornets and Magic, sandwiching a controversial three-point loss at Miami after which the NBA noted its referees failed to call a traveling violation on Tyler Herro’s game-winning 3-pointer.
The disappointment of Herro’s hoop was quickly relegated to ancient history when De’Aaron Fox beat the final horn in Orlando with a shocking 31-foot 3-pointer, giving the Kings a 126-123 triumph Saturday night.
The heroics capped a 37-point night for Fox that made for a pleasurable flight west.
“You ask any basketball player at any level: When the ball’s going in and you have a rhythm, the basket starts looking like the ocean,” Fox said afterward. “I shot that ball and it felt good the entire way.”
Fox had 26 points when the Kings lost at Golden State last month. The Warriors put up a 50-point second quarter in that one, then held on for a narrow victory.
They have one win since, and unlike the Kings, didn’t exactly have champagne popping on their flight home from New Orleans.
If there was a positive to the club’s fifth straight loss, it was that coach Steve Kerr used the seventh night on the road as an opportunity to rest Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson. Two-way players Ty Jerome (18) and Anthony Lamb (16) combined for 34 points in the surprisingly competitive effort.
One of the regulars who saw action for Golden State in New Orleans was Jordan Poole. He led the visitors with 20 points, but missed 13 of 18 shots and seven of his 10 3-point tries.
He went 12-for-40 overall and 5-for-22 on 3-pointers over the final three games of the trip.
“He’s trying too hard,” Kerr observed. “Jordan’s trying too hard to create every play. He’s at his best when there’s a flow to the game, he plays on and off the ball, he’s getting some catch-and-shoot opportunities.”
The Warriors have won six straight against the Kings, including their last four meetings in San Francisco by an average of nine points.
–Field Level Media